Friday, September 28, 2007

The Kitty

Last night Michael and I were walking home from our friend's home around the corner. As we rounded the corner onto our street we heard a tiny kitten's meow. We looked and saw a little gray kitten huddled near the wheel of a car. It saw us and immediately came towards us, meowing as it walked. We could tell it was sick-the meow was weak and scratchy. It was obviously lost and not doing too well.

We both stood there and watched it, wishing there was something we could do. I've always had a soft spot for kittens and puppies-I love the little babies.

I thought about my experience with most cats, and realized they usually don't run right up to humans like this one. It started to get close and we realized we probably should keep our distance since it could be aggressive or have a disease (though it probably just wanted human contact/food/loving).

We started to walk away, and it continued to follow us, rather closely. We walked more quickly, and so did it. Finally, we crossed the street. It started to follow us, and then stopped in the middle of the right lane. It seemed as if it sort of just gave up.

I didn't want it just sitting there. It was 10:30 at night and not too many cars were out, but still. We were going to keep walking, hoping it would turn around, when we saw headlights.

Michael turned back towards the kitten, trying to wave to the car to slow down. (Or, probably trying to get the kitten to move). I stood on the side of the road, just watching the cat, hoping that in the last moment it would move. It didn't.

Michael had told me to turn my head and not watch, but I couldn't help it. The headlights didn't slow down and suddenly we heard the loud, sickening thud. I screamed and started balling, almost hysterically.

The car pulled over. The guy felt so bad, especially because I was crying so hard. (He thought it was ours). I had watched the kitten, after the car passed. It had been drug a few feet. It tried to stand up, but was obviously injured and limping. It fell and tried to walk a few more times. Eventually it made it off the road and disappeared into the bushes.

We felt so helpless. We walked home, and I continued to cry hard. I'm pretty sure I was crying as hard as I cried on Friday night on the way to the ER. I just couldn't stop crying. My stomach hurt and I was close to hyperventilating.

We got home and I continued to cry. Michael hugged me and eventually I calmed down. He finally asked me, "this isn't just about the cat, is it?"

And it wasn't.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Michael and I are learning to take one day at a time. Sunday I felt like I was doing well, emotionally and physically, and then Monday turned out to be a much tougher day. I found myself crying throughout the day, and feeling a bit more soreness and pain.

Michael has been so absolutely wonderful: cleaning, running errands, taking care of me, crying with me, talking/processing with me, and somehow fitting in (a little) time for homework. I am so blessed to be married to such a wonderful, loving, caring man.

I am so grateful for the flowers, notes, emails, and even chocolate covered strawberries in the mail! We feel so supported and uplifted in prayer, especially for being in such a new place so far from "home."

A new friend here in PA sent me this verse over the weekend:

"...but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:3

This is my prayer, that this whole time will be a testimony to God's love and grace in our lives.

Today I was listening to a song, and I realized that the words are also my prayer, that my life is not my own, that even this little one now in heaven was not really mine, but a gift from God, and that it's ok if I don't have the strength to be strong, as long as I'm willing and asking for help.

Our biggest prayer request is that we can continue to release the expectations we had been holding on to: dreaming, planning, and expecting our life to change in April 2008. Also, as we realize our timing is not God's, we also are realizing that due to our schedule to be overseas in a year we may have to wait much longer than we'd like to try again, and that will be yet another lesson in patience.

Here's the song I heard today:

Please take from me my life
When I don't have the strength to give it to you, Jesus

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chapman Baby in Heaven

There's no easy way to write this. I could wait, but I don't see any reason to.

Friday night after I got off work I continued to have worsening symptoms, so around 10:30 Michael and I went straight to the ER. We were both crying a lot, because we knew something was seriously wrong, and we had an idea what it could mean.

They admitted me to the ER, took my blood, and eventually did two different kinds of ultrasounds. They couldn't find a heartbeat. We were officially miscarrying.

Obviously we were/are heartbroken. We sat there and cried for a while. Eventually they took me back to my other room and did some more examinations and tests. The OB-GYN on call strongly suggested that we have a procedure done to clean everything out, to avoid any risk of infection. They gave us the option of staying in the hospital over night and fitting me in on Saturday, or waiting and coming back in on Monday morning. We decided to stay overnight and just get it all taken care of.

Around 4 AM they were able to find us a room on a different floor. Michael slept on the floor. We rested, or tried to, as doctors and nurses (and even a chaplain in training) came in and out of our room all morning.

They finally came to get me around noon. Most of the morning I had been doing pretty well, just realizing that this is all in God's hands, and feeling a peace about it. I actually had three dreams on Thursday night where I had a miscarriage in each one. I think I had been slowly preparing myself for this possibility this week. As I lay in the Pre-op room, it really hit me that what they were about to do was going to make this really final. Michael and I sat there crying until the doctor finally came and took me into the operating room. The last thing I remember was laying on the table, crying and shivering, as the anesthesia kicked in. I woke up crying, and didn't stop for quite a while.

Thankfully, I am recovering quickly. I have almost no pain, just a little bit of soreness. I was released by 5:00 yesterday. We have been so blessed by Michael's classmates and their spouses who have been making us dinner and praying for us constantly.

We are at home resting. Pray that we will continue to grieve and heal and process all of this. Also, Michael has come down with a cold and is having a really hard time concentrating to get any school work done. He has already been feeling behind after being gone last weekend for a wedding, and now all of this.

We plan on just taking this week to rest. My work told me to just let them know when I'm ready to come back.

We trust that the Lord is going to work through all this. We trust His timing.

Friday, September 21, 2007


This morning I woke up and was having some weird symptoms for the pregnancy. It's one of those times where everything could be totally fine, or it could be the beginning of something really bad. So, I got a little worried.

After waking Michael up and talking about it, I got back in bed. I laid there crying for a little while, and praying. I have thought lately about how many people have miscarriages that don't deserve it (not that anyone ever does), but there are always stories of couples who are so loving and caring and would be amazing parents, and for some reason can't get pregnant, or keep having miscarriages.

And as I lay there praying, I found myself pleading with the Lord. Because really, who am I to think that I should be so special as to have everything just turn out wonderful? A lot of God-fearing people have big heartaches everyday. So I found it difficult to know what to say to God. I mostly just asked him to protect my baby, but His will be done.

I called my doctor's office and the nurse staff suggested I get my blood drawn today and again on Monday. Thankfully our health insurance check cleared today, so we are officially covered and good to go.

I HATE getting my blood taken. Michael left work early and came with me. Now we just have to wait until next week to make sure everything is ok. Meanwhile, I just have to monitor myself and rest. Oh yeah, and work for the next five nights in a row.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I scheduled my first OBGYN appointment today...Monday, October 8th!

I'm excited to have the appointment, but bummed that I have to wait almost 3 weeks.
By the time I have my appointment I will be officially through 12 weeks.

I guess I have no choice but to continue to have patience, but it's really hard. With so many thoughts in my head, and pregnancy stories of both good and bad, I'm just ready to get in to the doctor and relieve all those anxieties. It all comes back to trusting the Lord because my hands are completely tied right now.


Still working on my teaching license. I sent in paperwork to my Graduate School in Salem and as soon as they receive that and send it back to PA I should be good to go.

I'm definitely ready to start substituting during the day. I've been working the lunch shift at the restaurant and it often feels like a waste of time. I'm still earning money, but for the amount of time I'm there, and how much I make, I'd rather spend the day in a classroom. Not to mention I want to get back to interacting with high school students in that setting. I work with a few at the restaurant, and could even teach at their high school, but it's not the same at all.

We sent in our first payment for health insurance. I'm planning on calling today to see if they received it. As soon as they do, I can (finally) book our first doctor appointment. I'm still anxious about it. I like to read this pregnancy website, and there's a section for women all due in the same month. As I read the April messages, I have realized how many women have already had two appointments by this time. I am in my tenth week right now, and if I can get an appointment as early as next week I'll be in the eleventh week already.

Most of my symptoms are gone, I still feel tired easily (is it pregnancy or that I'm working a lot?), and occasionally feel a little nausea, but other than that, I don't even feel pregnant! I know I should be counting my blessings, a lot of women suffer with morning sickness for many weeks or months. I think once I actually get to the doctor and verify that I'm really pregnant I will feel more reassured.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The blog world is quite the community.

After posting my last blog, I spent some time reading some other blogs, and I found myself connected to a blog of this amazing woman.

I decided to start reading from her first posting in July 2006 and read forward. She was diagnosed with Leukemia in July 2006 and has posted updates throughout the last year.

I found myself crying at different points throughout the blog. She was not much older than me, having just turned 26, and having just had a baby less than two year ago. I have been thinking a lot about all the possible roads life can take us. Preparing for a baby has caused me to think about this a lot. There is no guarantee that anything will turn out how we would like it to. I could have a completely healthy baby, or I could have one with any kind of sickness or disease, or I could end up not having one at all. This can be so scary, and so awe-inspiring at the same time. (Awe-inspiring because I know God is sovereign in everything we go through).

And then there are all the things that could happen to me or my husband, or any other family member.

I am reminded to get on my knees in prayer and thank God that my family is healthy and safe...a blessing I often take for granted.

By the end of this blog-the last posting was two days ago-I was sobbing uncontrollably. What a legacy this woman has left for her child, her husband, and the hundreds of people who have read her blog.


When I think of a convenience store, I think of a grungy 7/11 where I would only go to buy packaged items or maybe a slushy. Never would I buy a hot dog or coffee, or any other "prepared" item.

Here in the metro-Philly area there is a phenomenon that happens to be a convenience store, and it's known as Wa-Wa.

When we first got here we would drive by all these Wa-Was and wonder what they were. The sign has a goose of some sort on it, and the parking lots are always full, especially during lunchtime.

About a week after we moved here I read an article in a local paper about this chain. It said that for out-of-towners, Wa-Wa probably seems a strange name and a strange place. But to locals, it is the place to be! I also learned that Wa-Wa is the local Native American word for Canadian Goose, hence the goose on all the signs.

This is not your ordinary convenience store. They make sandwiches and wraps (Subway-style, to order) of all sorts. They have "award-winning" coffee with a variety of flavors (everyone I work with at Bertucci's loves the coffee at Wa-Wa). They have all kinds of Wa-Wa brand food and drinks. Some Wa-Was are also gas stations.

Our first food experience with Wa-Wa occurred last week. We had heard that Wa-Wa has excellent milkshakes, and as I was craving some kind of cold dairy dessert, we thought we'd give it a try.

We walked over to the milkshake station. We assumed it would be much like getting a slushy: pick the cup size, place it under the spout, and push the button to dispense the milkshake into the cup.

We couldn't find cups, so we grabbed a Wa-Wa employee who was stocking shelves nearby. He showed us the proper way to get a Wa-Wa milkshake:

1st- Pick a flavor from the assortment of already filled cups in the mini freezer below the counter. I chose strawberry and Michael chose a coffee-ish flavor.

2nd- Take the lid off the cup. The cup is about 2/3 full and frozen solid.

3rd- Place cup in the milkshake holder/dispenser.

4th- Choose desired thickness (Choices are Extra Thick, Regular Thickness, and Less Thickness) and push button.

5th- Watch as the machine sucks up the cup inside, dispensing milk while simultaneously stirring the shake to the appropriate thickness. (You can't see this part, but that's what the Wa-Wa worker told us was happening).

6th- Pull out shake and enjoy!

I thought my shake was INCREDIBLE!! Michael wasn't as happy with the coffee flavored one, but thought mine was fantastic. We're slowly becoming "locals," though because of the the Oregonians in us we still don't carry umbrellas when it rains.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We Moved...Again!

Yes, we moved again. When people ask us why we moved, I feel a little dumb saying it, but it was mostly because of an odor.

The apartment complex we lived in had an extremely high concentration of Indians living there. And many/most of them cook with curry-a lot. We were on the third floor, and walking through the hallways and stairwells every day got tougher and tougher.

Every time I came home I would have to pull out the keys, brace myself for the stairs, and draw in a huge breath. I tried running up the stairs holding my breath, but running meant I needed to draw in breath more quickly, and the wave of curry and other odd smells would hit me like a brick. It got really bad when the smells started to seep into our bathroom and bedroom vents.

I have not had typical morning sickness (so far!) during my pregnancy. I would feel nauseous often, but the only two or three times I got sick enough to sprint for the bathroom was after coming home and getting through the hallway to get to our apartment.

I've noticed since we've moved already I rarely feel nauseous now. It's glorious!

Michael was going to bring a few people home from his cohort who had trucks to help us move. When I opened the door, 10 of the eleven walked through our door! I was so amazed! They had about a two and half hour break between classes, and they all came to help. We had our entire apartment empty and loaded within an hour, and had it all unloaded into the new place within another 45 minutes.

They were all such troopers, especially because of how humid it was, everyone needed showers before they headed back to class.

I was very blessed by this group's willingness to help us out. It's been a fun group to get to know, and I can tell many of these people will be lifelong friends.

Michael and I are very happy to be in our new place. Instead of being in a complex with hundreds of people, we deal with the landlord directly, who rents out the rest of the building to an insurance company and a nail salon. We also have our own laundry now, instead of having to walk to the opposite end of the building to pay for laundry. We have tons of extra space, and were able to upgrade the number of bedrooms, all for about the same price as our last place.

Just another way God has provided for us here in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ode to the Northwest Pastry

As we have been getting to know our new friends from Michael's program, and talking about similar likes and dislikes, we found out some terrible news this week.

Maple bars are no where to be found! We had NO IDEA that maple bars are only found in the Pacific Northwest. We spent ten minutes trying to explain to our new friends what a maple bar looks like, and better yet, tastes like, and they stared at us with blank expressions on their faces.

The best part is that this particular friend we've met, who is from New York, has an older brother who lives in our own hometown of Newberg, Oregon. (It really is a small world!) So, we called up his brother and wife on the phone to ask them if they knew what a maple bar was. We had convinced our friends that in Oregon, anyone and everyone knows what a maple bar is. And of course, they knew exactly what we were talking about.

The brother decided to do some detective work and found this website.

This is where I learned that there really are no maple bars near us. I had no idea that maple bars are "ubiquitous in Oregon and Washington, to be found at gas stations, grocery store bakeries, convenience stores, etc."

So, if anyone comes to visit us, we may have to request an order of maple bars to share with our East Coast friends.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I probably shouldn't be, but I am amazed at the way the Lord continues to bless us and provide for us.

For the last few weeks I have been pretty stressed about money, finding a job, and very important on my list, figuring out health insurance. I have been, and still am, very anxious to have my first doctor's appointment. I just want to make sure everything is OK with the pregnancy.

As we have been realizing how our checkbook has depleted, with no way to refill it, I found myself looking through Craigslist to find a job. As I already mentioned, I got a call and was hired rather quickly. Meanwhile, I am still working on substitute applications.

The night after I was hired I was looking online and found out that this restaurant offers full benefits for all employees, and right away! A lot of companies offer benefits to their employees, but often the employees have to wait a few months, or must be working a set number of hours to be eligible. But here, I am required to enroll within 30 days and there is no minimum number of hours I must work!

I truly feel like the Lord led me to apply to this job, even though I had no idea about these benefits. Now, our pregnancy will be covered-because it's through a group policy my pregnancy is not a pre-existing condition!! I am so, so thankful for this. The burden of trying to find insurance was suddenly just taken care of.

I plan to work as a server for as long as I can, and hopefully, when I can't do that anymore, I can work as a hostess until the baby comes.

The Lord has truly provided for us. What a huge answer to prayer!!